Stephanie Jallen is a 2014 Paralympian and two-time Paralympic bronze medalist in alpine skiing. Jallen was in PyeongChang, South Korea for the IPC World Cup Finals from March 11-18 and represented Team USA as a U.S. Department of State Sports Envoy.
1. South Korea provides a stunning backdrop for the Games.
South Korea is one of the most beautiful places I’ve visited for competition. There is no doubt that PyeongChang is going to host an amazing Games for both athletes and spectators. It’s already evident from the test events. The alpine venues are well on their way to being spectacular, and the downhill track has a lot of character and is very fun. I think we’ll see some incredible competition on those courses next winter.
2. Koreans are incredible hosts and are ready to welcome the world with open arms.
In my travels to South Korea, I had the chance to meet so many friendly locals. Everyone was so nice and welcoming to me as a visitor, and Seoul was buzzing with excitement for the upcoming Games. They are going to make incredible hosts to the thousands of people who will be traveling there in less than a year! I can’t wait to go back.
3. Team Korea is ready to go for the gold on home soil.
Team Korea is so excited for the upcoming Games. I had the chance to meet with the Korean curling team and take a tour through their state-of-the-art training facility. It’s an amazing opportunity for them to compete in front of their home crowd and it will definitely make for some exciting competition!
4. The food, the food and the food.
One of my favorite things to experience while in Korea was the food! So many different tastes and traditions. My personal favorite is Korean BBQ, where you grill your own meat at your table and wrap it in lettuce leaves with garlic and spices. It is extremely tasty and very fun to do with friends and family. Korean culture is so rich; it was a great experience for me and I know anyone visiting Korea will experience the same.
5. The Games are more than just a competition.
The spirit of the Olympic and Paralympic Games shines so brightly in South Korea. That is the beauty of the Olympic Movement. In less than a year, thousands of people from far and wide will join together to celebrate the world’s top athletes. Records will be broken and legends will be made, but more importantly, cultural differences will be cast aside in the spirit of friendly competition. I know I speak for all of my teammates when I say I couldn’t be more excited for the chance to make history in PyeongChang.